Here are the pros and cons of using LED panels for portraits

Jul 12, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Here are the pros and cons of using LED panels for portraits

Jul 12, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Other than using continuous lighting for video, some photographers choose to use it for shooting still as well. Jay P. Morgan relies on LED panels for portrait photography from time to time, and in his latest video, he discusses the pros and cons of this approach. There are definitely certain advantages of using LED panels for portrait photography, but some disadvantages as well. In this video, you’ll hear both sides, and let’s see if you agree.

YouTube video

Advantages

1. What you see is what you get

With continuous light, you get to see the lighting through the viewfinder or on the monitor. As you change the direction, position or intensity of the light, you get to see how it changes before you start shooting, and it’s easier to work with it.

2. Easier switch from stills to video

If you plan to shoot both stills and video on the same set, you don’t need to change the lighting setup from strobes to continuous lighting. LED panels cover it both, and it makes the entire shooting process faster and easier.

3. Complete control over color temperature

With bicolor lights, you get to control the color of the light easily and use a color meter to match it to the daylight if necessary.

4. They don’t draw a lot of power

Strobes can draw a lot of power when they charge, which isn’t the case with LED panels.

Disadvantages

1. They are not powerful enough

If you want to shoot at smaller apertures, LED panels are not the most suitable for it. You’ll usually need to keep the lens at larger apertures.

2. You can’t freeze action

In relation to the intensity of light, LED panels aren’t suitable for freezing action (for example if the subject is jumping). You are likely to end up with blurry photos if you use LED panels instead of strobes.

3. You must use a tripod

You may need to use longer exposures with LED panels, so you need to use the tripod to get the best results. This can make it less easy to move around.

4. They’re difficult to modify

Some LED lights make it hard for you to add modifiers such as grids and softboxes. Still, some models appear that make it easier, so this doesn’t need to be a problem if you choose the right LED panels.

Here are some portraits Jay P did with the LED Panels:

LED panels give harsher light, and they’re great for portraits like this, when you want to get a kind of a “film noir feeling.” Of course, you can add a diffuser and make it softer if that’s the look you’re aiming to achieve.

I rarely shoot with artificial lighting, but when I do, I prefer the constant light source. It’s mainly because I get to see how the light changes as I set it up, and for me, it works better than the speedlight (in most cases). What about you? Do you use LED panels for portraits?

[Are LEDs Good for Portraits? | The Slanted Lens]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “Here are the pros and cons of using LED panels for portraits”

  1. Sada Avatar
    Sada

    CRI … criii . and cri …. :)

  2. David RJ Brown Avatar
    David RJ Brown

    A large LED lightring (beauty not macro) can work well when used off axis. If you aren’t shooting through it, you get just get the effect of a reasonably large light panel, making it a versatile bit of kit to have around.

  3. DrJimmy Avatar
    DrJimmy

    Yongnuo has a 1200 panel LED…with DC and batteries [about 100 for 4 you may need and the panel is about 180 US. Is is very bright but limited. And you need to modify a soft box or use a reverse umbrella to get more bang. Compared to Roto’s, its a better value but Roto neo 2’s flash feature is still the gold mark.